One of my favorite authors, Robert Pirsig, wrote that if there is to be meaningful change in the world it will happen by individuals making quality decisions for themselves. Those decisions tend to radiate outward and affect the decisions of others until there comes a tipping point. I don’t want to claim we’ve reached such a point in Springfield. I have no way of knowing that. I only know what I see on the road these days. I see that we bicyclists are now far from alone.
I’m reminding you of this because of an article I read in The New York Times today entitled Boston Tries to Shed Longtime Reputation as Cyclists’ Minefield. There’s a lot of talk about bicycle lanes and paths in the article, but that’s not why I’m calling it to your attention. Instead, I’m interested in this one line:
“The grand plan is to change the culture, which is an incredible task,” said Nicole Freedman, a former Olympic cyclist who was hired as the city’s “bike czar” in 2007.
That really is the big question: How do you change a culture? I like Pirsig’s answer best. I get out there and “ride like I mean it” for two reasons: 1) I’m living my own bicycling culture, and 2) others may follow my lead (thus, eventually, making my culture even better).
In a very real sense, I already live in a bicycle friendly community. I already enjoy a vibrant bicycling culture. I already enjoy all the benefits of burning calories instead of carbon to move about my community. And everyday I see more who enjoy the same things I do.